Semaphore has come a long way in recent times. I remember going down to Semaphore as a child, just to get Soto's amazingly good fish and chips, back when the wait was less than an hour! Those were the days . . Anyway, over the past few years, it has rejuvenated itself somewhat, and there is more than one great eating destination here now. I think this is mainly due to the growth of the surrounding area's, and the potential that Semaphore still has to become a niche food destination. Hence, you'll see a few reviews on this blog of places in the area, as I do like to visit them frequently. Other really good places include Whipped, Swedish Tarts & New York Dreams. Those reviews to come over the next few weeks.
The location is nice, set up on a high balcony towards the end of the main strip. In the height of summer, the balconies will get a good workout. We dined inside as it wasn't as warm as predicted. The interior is eclectic in style, with a dark roof, plenty of old vases and glass jars, antique frames on the wall, mixed with art deco style chairs and curved wood tables. Enough on the setting, on to the food!
We noticed on the menu, there are a few different approaches to dining here. You can approach it as shared, with multiple smaller plates, have a pizza each, or aim for a main and a dessert. This results in something for everyone, which has its positives and negatives. I'd say its pretty neutral, and close to the modern Australian style that is popular right now. You could try here for a nice couples lunch, or a larger group lunch. We chose to try one small plate, and then grab a pizza each.One thing that looked great for a Sunday afternoon with a few beverages was the chef's selection bar plate. Lots of choice, and a decent amount too for the price. One to try next time!
The small dish we ordered was the pumpkin and saffron arrancini w/ rocket pesto. These fried little snacks were really good. They tasted fresh, and were clearly hand rolled. The picture might not show it, but the shape of these are closer to a Spanish croquette, but, the taste was definitely aligned with an Italian arrancini. Good amount of stretchy cheese . . .mmm ... cheese. The rocket pesto was fresh too, giving the dish the freshness and acidity the creamy cheese and pumpkin needed. Overall, a winner.
|You want more tomato?|
The pizza range is very good. I am not a fan of pizzas with a heap of topping, or non-traditional ingredients, and the selections here suit my taste. The pizza base on these is good, not too thick, hand rolled, good proportion of smaller air bubbles, without being supper thin. A good lunch size pizza. I will acknowledge that it isn't your traditional Italian pizza, like Pizza e Mozzarella or Etica, but, I didn't come here looking for that style. The sauce is fresh, definitely not a jar based sauce, which for me makes the pizza. One thing I like to judge pizza makers on is their ability to make a good Margarita The simple combination of the base, tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes can highlight quickly if the basics are right. Here, the Margarita comes with three different types of tomatoes yes, three! Cherry, fresh sliced and semi-dried. Why have one type when you can have three? The addition of the sun-dried for me was the real winner, it added a little extra chew to the pizza. Bocconcini and fresh basil were also part of the toppings, but didn't overwhelm or take over the focus ingredient.
|Maybe you want more meat?|
My other favorite topping is any cured meat. Or all of the cured meats you can find . . . The Italian here comes close to putting the entire delicatessen on the pizza. Salami, prosciutto and copocola, all crisped up, covered with mozzarella . . . stretchy mozzarella Olives and some chili added a little kick and a little more saltiness to the pizza. The three meat combination was great, plenty of different style of meat per bite made each bite different. My only drawback here was the olives. They were good, but not well pitted. The first time I cracked a pit, I wasn't ready, and it wasn't much fun.The rest of the olives that I ate, I made sure to remove the pit before chomping on it. Not a great way to have to eat. For some, this might ruin a meal, but for me, I have grown up eating olives, and I can handle chewing a few off the pit. Some others might break a tooth, which as mentioned before, would then ruin their meal. Thus, costing critical chops on the chopping board scale.
Likerish has a lot of potential with the warmer months ahead. I can see this becoming a destination for a few different crowds, and being a very popular venue for Sunday lunches or afternoons on the balcony. The pricing of the menu is in somewhere in between value and expensive. The service was great, and a very good list of local wines. Plenty of Adelaide Hill's whites for that Sunday afternoon. A few ciders on the menu too,and I enjoyed the Pipsqueak. Beer drinkers will also enjoy the selection of some craft brews from Squire's, Little Creatures or Endeavour. Given the focus on local wines, I would also like to see a few local craft beers and ciders on the menu too. Always support your local!
The Nathan gives Lickerish 7.25/10 chops on the chopping board.
26 Semaphore Rd, Semaphore